San Francisco East Bay Job Support Organizations – SING – 2nd in a series

February 23, 2010

This is the second in an occasional series on San Francisco East Bay job support resources. The last article was on Experience Unlimited

In 2001, Danville’s St. Isidore School principal Kathy Gannon-Briggs noticed the increase in fathers who were dropping their kids off and picking them up after school. “Why weren’t they at work?” she wondered.

As Tom Loarie, one of the present team leaders for the St. Isidore Networking Group (SING), tells the story, she quickly figured out that these fathers had been victims of the dot.com crash, were out of work, and needed help.

Founded in 2001, SING, which is open to all faith traditions , met weekly at Kathy’s home to provide support for those in, or thinking about job transition. The group helped over 250 executives, managers, and professionals between its inception and 2005 when it went into cyber-mode. With the 2008 economic meltdown and strong demand, SING renewed its weekly meetings in January 2009 and is again providing hope and inspiration mixed with resume-writing, interviewing, and networking skills to a much larger group which now meets at St. Isidore Catholic Church.

Each week usually has a guest speaker with transition related talks. One of the recent speakers was John Younger, Founder and CEO of Accolo, a recruitment outsourcing firm, whose message was that today’s job search is like the old wild west: there are no longer any rules. He also stressed the importance of using every social network available to “know” your target company and hiring manager and find creative ways to reach out to them.

SING provides support on networking, identifying and ranking your next company, different types of resumes and cover letters (and how to write one that is top-notch), different types of interviews and interviewing techniques, the use of search firms and job boards, and position negotiation techniques.

SING’s membership in their Google Group is now over 300 members, who receive a daily email with jobs, tips, relevant articles and bits of motivation and inspiration. “This ministry had been extremely rewarding to all involved. I have been fascinated with the bonds participants have developed with one another and know that all are developing friendships which will last well beyond the current crisis.” echoes Loarie.

If you go:

What: St. Isidore Networking Group (SING)

Where: 440 La Gonda, Danville, CA 94526

When: Monday Evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 PM

Contact: Tom Loarie – (925) 525-0272

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
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Jump Start Your Job Search Event a Success

October 28, 2009

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One measure of a successful event is the number of people who stay after it’s over and how long they stay to talk, network, and ask questions of the panelists and speakers. Yesterday’s event – Jump Start Your Job Search – hosted by St. Mary’s College Graduate School of Business Alumni and MassMutual had over 100 people attend the 4 hour event.

15 minutes after the event, all of the speakers were there and about 2/3 of the attendees. 30 minutes after the event, all of the speakers were still there and about 25 people remained. The feedback was very strong – even from veterans who had seen many of the speakers at other events – but the value, as reported by some, was having all of them together and the questions by Susan Dittmann, moderator of the first workshop along with questions from the audience, really uncovered new ideas and tactics.

Especially relevant was the first panel of Kim Litton, Lee Hecht Harrison Senior Career Coach and Career Management Professional, Tom Loarie, Co-Founder of St. Isidore’s Networking Group and Chairman & CEO of Mercator, a medical device company, and Dean Tracy, co-founder and Executive Director of CPC Job Connections.
Susan asked each of them several questions that generated many more questions from the group. Each brought a bit different perspective from their experience answering questions, but the overall effect was powerful. The questions could have continued far longer, but had to be cut short due to time.

Jud Walsh from the SF Business Times went through how to use the paper to generate business leads. As a research tool, he demonstrated page by page how to identify companies and business owners or leaders to contact for jobs (and hidden jobs) – a very creative approach.

Finally, Dennis Thompson, Executive Recruiter and Career Management Coach, in a very interactive and lively session, showed how to get an interview with the Queen of England… OK, if not the Queen, then at least Barack Obama, by being able to offer them something of value and using the 6 degrees of separation technique. He then translated this into working groups of 6, following a simple, yet powerful script to identify people others know at a target company, or people who may know people at that target company.
While the event ended at noon, several groups continued to stay together and share information. A very powerful close to the event. I mentioned that of the past two events at SMC targeting those in transition, virtually every speaker emphasized – in different, yet emphatic ways – the need to network to stand out from the millions of others who are unemployed. Susan Dittmann said that to be successful in your job search, you must do two things each week that are uncomfortable and one thing that terrifies you. This was also echoed by many of the speakers.

Thanks to each of the speakers for volunteering their time and experience in helping those in attendance!